Back to School Party Ideas

By Emily Churchill

Created on June 14, 2016

Help your child get ready for the new school year by hosting a back to school party! This is a great way for children to reconnect with school friends, or celebrate the end of summer with their neighbors. Our Back to School Ideas include suggestions for cute invitations and party games that will help your child say goodbye to summer vacation.

Planning & Invitations

What Do I Need for the Party? 

In addition to basic party supplies, like plates, cups, napkins, and decorations, you may want to consider purchasing, borrowing or renting the following items for your Back-to-School party:
  • A School-Related Movie (Examples: High School Musical [G], Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone [PG], School of Rock [PG-13], Akeelah and the Bee [PG])
  • A karaoke machine
  • A globe and maps
  • A chalkboard and chalk
  • Lunchboxes

Back to School Invitation Ideas 

Make your guests excited for the beginning of the school year by sending them fun and unique personalized birthday invitations or blank invitations to your back to school party! We also have some great ideas for making your own back-to-school party invitations. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Punch a hole in one corner of a card-style invitation and attach it to one of our school-themed personalized party supplies with curling ribbon.
  • Seal your back-to-school party envelopes with a personalized sticker printed with the party details or a fun birthday message.
  • Print your party details on colored paper and glue it to one side of a flashcard. On the other side, write an equation in large print, i.e. 4 + 4 = 8.
  • Design each invitation to resemble a report card. Include fun subjects and grades, like "Having Fun - A+", "Being a Great Friend - A+", "Soaking Up Summer Sun - A+", Being Excited About School - B", "Attending [child's name]'s Party - ?" Write your party details underneath the grades.
  • Staple several pieces of paper together along the left side and write "[child's name]'s Back to School Party Text Book" on the front. Write one detail about the party on each 'page' in the book.
  • Write your party details on the side of a brown paper lunch bag. Include an apple and some stickers in the bag and hand-deliver them to your guests.
  • Ask your guests to arrive at the back-to-school party dressed as what they want to be when they grow up as a fun reminder of what going to school can lead to!
  • Include creative wording for your party details, such as: Summer was fun, But school is great! It's a back to school bash, So don't be late!

Decorating & Food Ideas

Back to School Decoration Ideas 

While invitations give the first impression of your party, decorations keep that excitement high! You can either decorate to fit a chosen theme (see our themed ideas for suggestions) or decorate in a general school theme using your child's school colors. Here are some suggestions:
  • Hang a large world map on one wall of the party area. Cut a star out of gold paper and tack it to the state you live in, to show the children where they are in relation to the rest of the world.
  • Hang a banner on your front door that says "Last Days of Summer - Let's Party!". See our selection of Personalized Banners for inspiration!
  • Cut a large pencil and ruler out of cardboard and prop them up in one corner of the party area.
  • Create a school-inspired centerpiece by stacking books in the center of the table and topping it with an apple. Or, use a tabletop globe as your centerpiece.
  • Ask each child to send you a school picture of themselves before the party. Make a collage of all the pictures and display it prominently in the party area.
  • Hang a chalkboard on one wall of the party area and write equations on it. While you are waiting for everyone to arrive, let your guests try their hand at solving the equations.
  • Ask an older child or one of your guest's parents to dress like a teacher and make balloon animals for the children. Use one of our easy Balloon Kits that include an instruction book, balloons, and balloon inflator.

Back to School Food Ideas 

Get creative with your party food by serving theme-specific treats. For a Back to School Party, consider the following ideas:
  • Create a menu inspired by school lunches. Set out a tray of sandwiches cut in half on the diagonal along with string cheese, pudding cups, applesauce cups, grapes, baby carrots with ranch dip, and cookies. You could even pack the food in paper lunch bags and lay out some blankets outdoors where your guests can sit and eat.
  • Serve cartons of regular and chocolate milk with fun silly straws.
  • Serve french fries and popcorn in stadium cups. Set out toppings for the popcorn such as cheese powder, cinnamon and sugar, chocolate sprinkles, and sea salt.
  • Use cookie cutters in school-themed shapes (school bus, megaphone, apple) to cut out shapes in sliced cheese and deli meat. Serve with crackers.
  • Make a school bus appetizer! Hollow out a loaf of bread and fill it with your favorite dip. Place two cucumber slices on each side for the wheels. Cut out a line of windows above the wheels, and cut a section out of the front for the bus's windshield.
  • As an alternative to cake, set up an ice cream sundae bar. You'll need chocolate and vanilla ice cream, dishes or cones, and syrups like hot fudge and butterscotch. Set out bowls of sprinkles, sliced fruit, gummy candies, and chocolate chips. Don't forget the whipped cream and cherries to top it all off!

Back to School Pencil Cake Instructions 

Use the instructions and design below to create a pencil-shaped cake!   
  1. First, cut a 9" x 13" cake in half lengthwise.
  2. Place the pieces end-to-end to form the pencil shape.
  3. Cut the edges from one end to look like a pencil tip.
  4. Then, cover with yellow frosting and use a tube of black decorator icing to draw on the details.

Party Favor Ideas

Back to School Party Favors 

Send your guests home with party favors that they can actually use when they go back to school.
  • Fill a small plastic craft box or a lunch box with pencil sets, fun erasers, crayons, and markers.
  • Stickers
  • Personalized coloring books
  • Our bag tags and zipper pulls are perfect for backpacks or sports bags and can be personalized with each guest's name.
  • You may also want to browse our convenient complete party favor sets.

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